News Releases

Date: 6/8/2006

Title: Death Tax Repeal Deserves Open Debate on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON - U.S. ranching families from across the nation are tying up Senate phone lines and stampeding Capitol Hill this week, urging their Senators to vote for full and permanent repeal of the Death Tax.

“We’ve come a long way from the ranch to tell Senators the devastating effects this tax has on our industry,  says John Queen, NCBA president-elect and North Carolina cattle producer who made the trip to Washington DC this week. “This is an unfair attack on the American dream, which puts real families out of business. We’ve been fighting this unfair taxation for generations, and this week’s vote is gravely important.”
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) filed cloture on a motion to proceed to a vote on HR 8, the legislation passed in the House supporting permanent repeal of the Death Tax. Debate occurred Wednesday afternoon and continues today, with the vote scheduled for mid-morning.
“U.S. farmers and ranchers are urging Senators to vote YES on cloture on the motion to proceed to HR 8, and allow for a fair debate on this often misunderstood taxation,” says Jay Truitt, NCBA Vice President of government affairs. “In rural America, the estate tax aka ‘Death Tax’ is considered one of the leading causes of the breakup of multi-generation family farms and ranches.”

“A vote against Death Tax repeal is a vote against rural America,” says Queen. “For asset-rich and cash-poor family businesses like ours, the appraised value of rural land is extremely inflated when compared to its agricultural value. We represent generations of folks who were forced to sell off land, farm equipment, parts of the operation, or the entire ranch to pay off tax liabilities.”

“Ours is a family operation, with the fourth generation on the ranch, and we're very concerned about the stability of agriculture, says Boyd Spratling, Nevada rancher. “We have a lot invested through generations of modest living.  We have a lot invested in our operation, our cattle, our land, our equipment.  We have very close margins that we live on.
“When we pass our operations to the next generation, we're not talking about trust fund kids that have never worked the ranch.  We're passing working operations to our children who have worked all their life on the land.  Now those same people who have built the operation for decades and paid appropriate income taxes and sales taxes have to repurchase their own ranch from the government, and I just think that's the ultimate injustice.” 

Any U.S. Senator can be reached via the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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